It’s Time to Stop Sulking and Start Fighting Back on Obamacare


First Read, after noting that Obamacare is getting steadily more unpopular, explains why:

The Obama White House has a massive PR problem with health care. The biggest reason: Opponents of this law have been very vocal, while supporters have done very little to drum up support. The president doesn’t sell it that often, and many arms of the Democratic Party essentially avoid it. Politics abhors a vacuum, and opponents — not supporters — have filled the health-care vacuum.

Yep. Three years after passage, conservatives remain revved up and on the warpath about Obamacare. They vastly outspend supporters on the airwaves; conservative talkers attack it relentlessly; think tanks write reports predicting doom over every conceiveable piece of bad news; Republican House members schedule endless repeal votes; and Republicans in both chambers do everything they can to sabotage its rollout.

In the meantime, many liberals remain….lukewarm. Why? I find it hard to fathom. It’s true that we didn’t get everything we wanted. We didn’t get a public option. We gave away lots of goodies to corporate interest groups. We fought those wars and lost, and as a result, the very people who ought to be defending Obamacare most vigorously are, instead, still sulking in their tents. The left is, basically, fighting with one hand tied behind its back.

Even granting that I’m temperamentally more tolerant of compromise than many people, I still find this inexplicable. You fight your fights, and sometimes you lose. That’s the way politics is and always has worked. But Obamacare is an historic piece of legislation regardless. Despite all the Republican tantrums, it’s going to provide decent healthcare to tens of millions of Americans who didn’t have it before. And like other social welfare programs before it, it will eventually expand and cover even more people. It’s something to be proud of, and something to defend robustly, not something to slink away from.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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